#EpicRace Final Day Recap (Part 1)

Friday, December 27, 2013

We've been waiting to post about the final day of the EpicRace until the official results came out, which were released earlier today. First of all, a big congrats to those Top 10 winners, especially our friends Joe, Steve, and John!
Congrats Joe, Steve, and John on your Epic Win!
I also want to emphasize what an amazing experience this entire trip was for us. It was the perfect honeymoon after a very crazy year. So even though we're not in that Top 10, we still had a blast. Vail just posted Episode #5 which is a great recap on the final day, and features us again!.  Now on to how we lost...

After much discussion and time spent analyzing the map looking at lift times, runs, etc. Dave and I decided that we were going to go with a strategy that would either completely pay off or would definitely make us lose. Figured it was time to really go all out. So bright and early Friday morning, we set off for a quick walk up the mountain to our hotel's closest gondola's mid-station. There were a few new runs opening that were easily accessible from that lift and we figured if we started at the mid-station, we could be a few cars ahead of the group starting at the base. However, if one of the checkpoints wasn't on this lift, we'd be behind as we'd have to race to the bottom and jump on the correct lift.

We stood at the lift and anxiously awaited the email at 9am that detailed the scavenger hunt. When it finally hit our inbox, we realized that the clues were actual puzzles! There were several locations for the 3 towns of Merible, Les Allures, and Brides-Les-Bains, and you only had to check off one location per town. At the checkpoint there would be an EpicRace sticker and that sticker must be visible in your photos/video submitted for it to count. Here's an example of one of the puzzles. Um yeah, try solving this without a pencil and paper - it's tough!

Meribel Location A
Discover the next location by solving the clues below and using the keypad on your phone (diagram below) for clues 2, 4, 5, 7, and 8 to reveal the letter.  For example, the second letter for the number 4 on the keypad corresponds to the letter H.

“He’s got the best view in the house from this high up perch”

1)      _____  The year Vail was founded (no need for keypad)
2)      _____  Subtract the last number from the second number.  Use the last letter from the keypad number.
3)      _____  The first letter of a ski resort in Lake Tahoe on the Epic Pass (no need for keypad).
4)      _____  A letter represented by the third number of the answer to #1.  Use the last letter from the keypad number.
5)      _____  Subtract 3 from the number of ski resorts in North America on the Epic Pass.  Use the first letter from the keypad number.
6)      _____  The first letter in the name of this street in Breckenridge where all the action can be found (no need for keypad).
7)      _____  A letter represented by the number of ski resorts “where Epic begins.”  Use the first letter from the keypad number.
8)      _____  A letter represented the number of this chairlift at Beaver Creek where you can take in a view of the Gore Range.  Use the second letter from the keypad number.

The answer is SNOWMAN, although at the time, I was pretty sure it spelled SAULIRE after solving the first letter, the name of a lift at the base and we had started in the wrong spot. So we raced to the bottom, skiing as fast as we could and ran on to the Gondola.  Rather than double checking, we moved on to the next puzzle for the town of Les Allures.  Once we got to the top of the gondola, we started scanning everywhere for the sticker.  Had we actually solved the puzzle, we would of known to look for a snowman. We found it after a few valuable minutes of searching, and quickly recorded our video.

Next it was time for probably one of the fastest runs of my entire life down 4,000 vertical feet from the summit to the base. It was absolutely amazing and probably my best skiing ever! Once we were back at the bottom, it was time to hike/run over to a different gondola that would take us down to Les Allures and then to Brides-Les-Bains. We dropped our skis off at the top since we wouldn't need them for the rest of the race. As soon as we hopped into the gondola, our ski boots and jackets came off and our snow boots went on. We also uploaded our video to YouTube while we had a few minutes of down time so that it would be ready once the final picture was taken for upload. 
We had solved the following puzzle for Les Allures:
Les Allues Location B
Complete the clues below to find this location.  Using the answers, place the letter of the corresponding number in the black (ie. Farmer, letter 2 = A)


1.       Trail named after a girl at Afton Alps
2.       Unbuckle with the Angel’s at this resort
3.       Sit here in an Adirondack Chair at Heavenly
4.       Catch the gondola here at Keystone
5.       3pm ever day at Beaver Creek
6.       A "spooky looking dude" from Kirkwood

The answer to this one, is CHURH! From our previous recon earlier in the week, we knew exactly where it was. Once the gondola arrived at the station, we dumped our backpack and ski boots and sprinted towards the church. Oh, I forgot to mention that the entire valley was completely socked in fog, so dense you could barely see 15 feet in front of you! Although it added a fun element to the race that morning, it also made it a bit tougher to find the church or see any of the other racers for that matter! We made it though, took our picture, and started the run back to the Gondola.  

At the Church in Les Allures!
Back in the gondola, it was time to solve the puzzle for the final town. We had a bit more difficulty with this one. We tried one puzzle first but couldn't figure out where it was sending us, so we moved on to this one:

Brides-les-Bains Location B
Answer the clues below to reveal the location where you do the activity found within the boxed area.

Clues -  Name each of the following Resort’s terrain parks:
1)      Northstar
2)      Vail
3)      Keystone
4)      Canyons
5)      Breckenridge

The answer to this one, is SKATE. Although skate park came to mind, we focused instead on ice skate, and began looking for an ice skating rink in town on Google Maps. We couldn't find anything definitive so we decided to just look for it as we ran.  When we arrived at the station, we once again dumped our gear and began running as fast as we could into the town looking for an ice rink. We finally found a tiny one outside of the tourist office, but there wasn't an EpicRace sticker! There were quite a few other racers at this point around the tourist office, and we heard them talking about gondola checkpoints at either end of the town. We decided to scrap the clue, and just follow some other people to the last checkpoint since we knew we'd lost at this point.  We finally found it at the VERY end of town, easily half a mile away. We snapped our photo, and uploaded as fast as we could.

At the red Gondola in Brides-Les-Bains!
By the time we uploaded, we came in around 70th place, however, this number dropped significantly as people realized they hadn't completed the race correctly and were having to re-do their submissions. The most common mistake people made was not having the EpicRace sticker in the photo. So we ended up sitting closer to 50th. Not bad out of 131 people!

Although we were bummed that we hadn't done as well as we wanted, we were still stoked and excited about how much fun that final morning was and we were happy that it was actually challenging.  We also knew we took a risk by choosing our starting location, and that's okay.  After talking to other racers, and taking some time to breathe, we realized that the fastest way to win the race that morning was to never actually put on your skis! Starting in Brides and working your way up to the final checkpoint was the fastest way since you wouldn't lose time skiing down and could upload from the summit. We were definitely banking on more skiing being involved which is why we chose the strategy we did, but looking back, we should of known that to make it fair to all ski levels and abilities, it wouldn't really play a factor. We also found out that there was a closer checkpoint at the library in Les Allures that was literally right outside of the gondola, which would have been much faster than running all the way to the church and back. And in Brides, the checkpoint was a skate park which we ran right by looking for the ice rink.

Now that the official results have been published, Dave and I finished at #41 & 42. So although we didn't win the pass for life, we still each get a free Epic Pass for the 2014/2015 season. Plus, it was an amazing trip where we met lots of great new friends and skied some incredible places.  Now the debate begins... do we try our luck again next year? :)

Stay tuned for Part 2 as I recap the Après Ski party and final few days in Europe...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...